Several weeks ago I submitted a letter to the editor concerning our attitudes becoming a cancer in our society. One of the tools to combat this cancer, our judicial system, is virtually ineffective in its present condition.
This letter is to bring attention to another tool that is not having very much positive influence or results. That tool is parenting.
What is parenting? What should it be?
1. It is raising your child to be respectful and decent and law-abiding.
2. It is helping them to learn the truths and skills necessary for them to earn their fruits of their efforts. This means chores at home, reinforcing discipline as needed, and not just giving them everything they want. They should not be taught or get the idea by your example that they are entitled to free hand-outs.
3. It is being a good example for them in learning appropriate behaviors. Children are great imitators so be good role models for them. In most cases, they will attempt to live up to, or down to, your examples.
4. Give them positive reinforcement, attention, guidance and assistance. If children cannot get your attention by their good behavior but they get it with bad behavior, guess what their behavior will become, more and more?
5. Do not strive to be their best friend at the expense of being the primary authority figure in their life. If it comes to something like shoplifting because their friends get away with it, should you condone such behavior or should you use it to teach right from wrong? The same is true for alcohol, drug experimentation, etc.
6. Hold them accountable for the decisions they make. Teach them that for every action there is a reaction, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. If these types of lessons were taught at home on a consistent basis there would be fewer cases of illegal behaviors which need to be addressed later. But there are those that, despite everyone’s best efforts, turn to a life of disrespect and crime. These people need to be prosecuted and dealt with sternly and with a goal of protecting the community and teaching accountability.
So good parenting is a tool, not a cure-all or the only solution. It is one thing that certainly could use some tuning up.
Ask any counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, teacher or mentor whether a good home environment is necessary. If you care about the children, teenagers and young adults in your life, try to lead them, inspire them.
But do not become an enabler. There is a difference between helping and enabling. If you do not know the difference you should find out. A column by Walter Williams in the Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 Clinton Herald is well worth reading. It certainly emphasizes what is happening in our society right now.